A Growing Faith
by John C. Westervelt
If you had a childhood friend who is still a friend, you must feel blessed. As a child, I met Jesus in Sunday school at Wesley Methodist Church in Oklahoma City. A seed of faith was planted in virgin soil.
During the Great Depression of the 1930s, Wesley cut back to a preacher, a secretary, and a janitor. All other jobs were in the hands of volunteers.
I had just started high school during World War II when Rev Nuell Crain, his wife Catherine, and two little girls on tricycles appeared on the parsonage grounds next door to the church. Right away, Rev Crain asked the youth sponsors to encourage the youth to attend MYF (Methodist Youth Fellowship) on Sunday evenings.
I remember riding with Rev Crain and a car full of youth across town to a district MYF meeting. On the way we sang “I am climbing Jacob’s ladder.” In time, Nuell hired Grace Garten as Youth Director. My faith grew with the preaching of Rev Crain and the teaching of Grace Garten. Nuell and Grace remained my close friends until their deaths.
My faith continued to grow during the following sixty years in church and Sunday school and for eight of those years in an Asbury Small Group. Throughout each day, I offer a sentence prayer, “Grow my Faith, Hope, and Patience,” for I need a larger measure of faith. I am grateful that Jesus was my boyhood friend and that our friendship has grown throughout the years.
Every night, propped up in bed, I read two pages from the Gospels. When I turn out the light, I visit with Jesus about what was going on in His life on that day as recorded by the gospel writer. I ask Him to pull up a chair and stay with me until I fall asleep.
Now approaching eighty and a widower, I need more help each year from people and from Jesus. My cleaning lady and yard man have become extensions of my hands to do work I can no longer do. Jesus helps me with my daily decisions.
After retiring, I began volunteering at Asbury’s weekday preschool. While some of my colleagues have moved to retirement homes and a few to nursing homes, I hope to stay in my home and go to Asbury’s preschool each morning to help with the children. Only God knows what the future holds for me.
My hope is that my last spring semester with the Asbury children will be followed by my fall semester in heaven helping in God’s preschool. I would like to love His preschool children, some of whom would have arrived in heaven before their mommy and daddy.
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